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Facilitated communication
#1
Courtesy of the Daily Grail, there's an interesting blog article in the Guardian by Chris French and Michael Marshall (of the Merseyside Skeptics [sic] Society), questioning whether a child suffering from severe cerebral palsy is really able to communicate with the help of a facilitator, or whether the supposed communications are spurious. A similar Belgian case is cited, where tests showed the communication failed when the facilitator was unaware of the facts to be communicated:
https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog...t-question

I think this is obviously potentially relevant to Diane Hennacy Powell's studies of severely autistic children.

[Edit: It's really genuine facilitated communication that is potentially relevant to Dr Powell's studies, not the spurious kind.]
"There are more things in philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth."
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#2
I am under the impression that facilitated communication has been thoroughly debunked.

~~ Paul
If the existence of a thing is indistinguishable from its nonexistence, we say that thing does not exist. ---Yahzi
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#3
Well I'm very new to the idea of facilitated communication, and would love to hear both sides of the subject. Interesting what French has to say, but a lot of this stuff isn't as cut and dry as his camp always wishes it to be or presents it to be
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#4
(02-09-2018, 10:44 PM)Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Wrote: I am under the impression that facilitated communication has been thoroughly debunked.

~~ Paul

There is perhaps still something interesting going on with facilitated communication... something about the state of belief of the facilitator. That is the belief of the facilitator that it’s not them (there is somebody else)... it’s the same sort of thing we see from the UBC Ouija board study, which is also related to effects reported from popular use of Ouija boards, hypnotism, prayer etc. There does appear to be something interesting going on when people truely believe it’s not just them, but that there is another (or more than one) involved.
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#5
What I mean is that where the article by French and Marshall describes the principle of facilitated communication as "a facilitator [being] guided to choices of letters or words via small physical signals from a patient", that may be relevant to Dr Powell's experiments, because her subject may be being guided to choices of letters or words via small physical signals from the therapists. A kind of facilitated communication in reverse.
"There are more things in philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth."
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#6
(02-07-2018, 08:58 AM)Chris Wrote: Courtesy of the Daily Grail, there's an interesting blog article in the Guardian by Chris French and Michael Marshall (of the Merseyside Skeptics [sic] Society), questioning whether a child suffering from severe cerebral palsy is really able to communicate with the help of a facilitator, or whether the supposed communications are spurious. A similar Belgian case is cited, where tests showed the communication failed when the facilitator was unaware of the facts to be communicated:
https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog...t-question

I think this is obviously potentially relevant to Diane Hennacy Powell's studies of severely autistic children.

[Edit: It's really genuine facilitated communication that is potentially relevant to Dr Powell's studies, not the spurious kind.]

from the article

Quote:  The technique rose to prominence during the 1980s, but subsequent controlled testing reliably demonstrated that subjects were unable to produce information that had been shown only to them. In short, the messages were coming not from the patients, but from the facilitators who were “interpreting” which letter or word was being indicated.

The above is the core premise of the analysis.  The ass-umption is that if there is no (physical signal) from test subject to the communications partner, then no mutual information is shared by the two.  This is the same logic that grounds all arguments against natural observations of communication that appears to happen.

What if the the "information object" to be communicated by both minds experiencing the event, needs both minds and there is facilitation and not just projection from communication partner.  In other words --- Yes: the test subject cannot do it alone.  And when both are working in cooperation - some results are achieved.
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#7
(02-12-2018, 01:22 PM)stephenw Wrote: The above is the core premise of the analysis.  The ass-umption is that if there is no (physical signal) from test subject to the communications partner, then no mutual information is shared by the two.  This is the same logic that grounds all arguments against natural observations of communication that appears to happen.

What if the the "information object" to be communicated by both minds experiencing the event, needs both minds and there is facilitation and not just projection from communication partner.  In other words --- Yes: the test subject cannot do it alone.  And when both are working in cooperation - some results are achieved.

But why entertain this hypothesis when the results are explained by the simpler hypothesis that the partner is doing all the work?

You could test this hypothesis by showing one word to the subject and a synonym to the partner. Then see which word is spelled out. Of course, be sure there is no correct/incorrect feedback to the partner.

~~ Paul
If the existence of a thing is indistinguishable from its nonexistence, we say that thing does not exist. ---Yahzi
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#8
Hmm. Having read a little bit more, it seems this is a very confusing subject. Evidently the facilitators are meant to pick up subtle cues from the subjects, but the sceptical interpretation is that it's all coming from the facilitator. But then there's a variant called the Rapid Prompting Method, in which the sceptical interpretation is that it's still all coming from the therapist, but through subtle cues picked up by the subject.

It seems a bit inconsistent for sceptics to claim it's impossible for subtle cues to be picked up by therapists, but also to criticise animal psi experiments like those on Clever Hans and Lady Wonder, on the basis that even animals can pick up subtle cues. Unless the idea is that only animals can pick up subtle cues. Maybe there's a niche in the market for animal facilitators?
"There are more things in philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth."
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#9
(02-12-2018, 01:50 PM)Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Wrote: But why entertain this hypothesis when the results are explained by the simpler hypothesis that the partner is doing all the work?

You could test this hypothesis by showing one word to the subject and a synonym to the partner. Then see which word is spelled out. Of course, be sure there is no correct/incorrect feedback to the partner.

~~ Paul

Considering End of Life experiences , NDE OBE's, Hypnotism, Ouija board etc., etc., and my suspicion that one weakened network (brain) can be affected by a stronger compatible network, I wouldn't prematurely rule a local unexpected effect out, until we've found a way of definitely excluding it.
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#10
(02-13-2018, 07:57 PM)Max_B Wrote: Considering End of Life experiences , NDE OBE's, Hypnotism, Ouija board etc., etc., and my suspicion that one weakened network (brain) can be affected by a stronger compatible network, I wouldn't prematurely rule a local unexpected effect out, until we've found a way of definitely excluding it.
What experiment would exclude it?

I think you need to find positive evidence for it.

~~ Paul
If the existence of a thing is indistinguishable from its nonexistence, we say that thing does not exist. ---Yahzi
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